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review 2018-12-16 04:52
The Belles - audiobook
The Belles - Dhonielle Clayton,Rosie Llewellyn-Jones

Audience: Young Adult

 

We all turned sixteen today, and for any normal girl that would mean raspberry and lemon macarons and tiny pastel blimps and pink champagne and card games. Maybe even a teacup elephant.

- opening lines

 

Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In this world, Belles control Beauty and Beauty is a commodity. People are born gray and will pay anything to be transformed. The society is fixated on Beauty - there are even rules to prevent people from going to extremes. For example, a Belle cannot make your proportions so outrageous that they don't look like the natural human form. Camellia (and the other Belles) wants to be the favorite and live in the palace. But, in this world, nothing is as it seems and danger and betrayal are everywhere.

 

So, I think this book was trying to make a statement about how much our society reveres beauty. And how dangerous this could be when taken to the extreme. There are many issues tackled in this book including gender equality, male privilege, the way woman warp their bodies to be "perfect," and the idea that beauty is not just what we see on the outside. It does a good job of raising the issues without seeming preachy.

 

Camellia is fixated on being the Favorite and being the best and she can't handle the idea of failing. But she is naive and doesn't see what is happening around her - the deception and danger. I found the evil character to be very obvious and couldn't believe that Camellia wouldn't see right through her. She often walked right into a trap that a blind person would have seen coming.

 

The world is interesting with the teacup size elephants, giraffes, and dragons. But some of the descriptions are a bit much and I found it distracting. When describing a scene or a place, the author used a lot of imagery and flowery language - too much really. It stood out to me and it shouldn't - I should be able to picture the scene in my head without thinking about how many similes or metaphors the author is using.

 

The audio was very well done. I enjoyed the narrator's accent. I read the first couple of pages on the Amazon preview and I was glad I listened to the audio. There are many words that are hard to figure out how to pronounce. Not having to think about that allowed me to enjoy the story more. 

 

I did enjoy the story and when the ending was more than a bit of a cliffhanger, I was looking for the next book in the series. It doesn't come out until some time next year. If it had been available when I finished this book I probably would have read it, but I don't know if I will still be as interested when it finally comes out.

 

I borrowed the audio from my local library. The book is a Florida Teens Read program nominated book for 2018-19.

 

 

 

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review 2018-12-12 03:03
This is Our Story - Audiobook
This Is Our Story - Ashley Elston

 

Audience: Young Adult

 

 

A ten-point buck and a dead body make the same sound when they hit the forest floor.

- opening sentence

 

 

This story revolves around the mystery of what happened at River Point when five friends went hunting and one was killed. Afterward, the "River Point Boys" decide to stick together and say that none of them knows who fired the shot that killed their friend. Kate is interning at the DA's office and she is determined to get justice for Grant. But it isn't clear who killed Grant and without evidence, the DA could succumb to the pressure from the powerful families of the boys to sweep the incident under the rug. 

 

The story is well-written and seems realistic, except for the fact that Kate is the only one who can find evidence to solve the crime. Adults aren't always as inept as YA novels make them out to be. But, I get it - Kate is the intrepid sleuth (ala Nancy Drew).

 

The plot was slow at times, but I always wanted to keep listening to try to figure out who the killer was. Most of the book is told from Kate's point of view with periodic sections from the POV of the killer (without giving away who it is). I enjoyed hearing what the killer was thinking and planning. I had a hard time keeping the names of the boys straight but that may have been a factor of listening to the audiobook. There are two narrators and they both did a great job. The plot twists, including one that reminds us how technology can hide the truth, make up for the slow parts of the book.

 

Overall, I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to YA mystery fans.

 

 

 

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review 2018-11-30 16:22
A realistic portrayal of rape culture and so much more...
The Nowhere Girls - Amy Reed

๏ ๏ ๏  Book Blurb ๏ ๏ ๏ 

 

Three misfits come together to avenge the rape of a fellow classmate and in the process trigger a change in the misogynist culture at their high school transforming the lives of everyone around them in this searing and timely story.
Who are the Nowhere Girls?
They’re every girl. But they start with just three:
Grace Salter is the new girl in town, whose family was run out of their former community after her southern Baptist preacher mom turned into a radical liberal after falling off a horse and bumping her head.
Rosina Suarez is the queer punk girl in a conservative Mexican immigrant family, who dreams of a life playing music instead of babysitting her gaggle of cousins and waitressing at her uncle’s restaurant.
Erin Delillo is obsessed with two things: marine biology and Star Trek: The Next Generation, but they aren’t enough to distract her from her suspicion that she may, in fact, be an android.
When Grace learns that Lucy Moynihan, the former occupant of her new home, was run out of town for having accused the popular guys at the school of gang rape, she’s incensed that Lucy never had justice. For their own personal reasons, Rosina and Erin feel equally deeply about Lucy’s tragedy, so they form an anonymous group of girls at Prescott High to resist the sexist culture at their school, which includes boycotting sex of any kind with the male students.
Told in alternating perspectives, this groundbreaking novel is an indictment of rape culture and explores with bold honesty the deepest questions about teen girls and sexuality.

 

 

๏ ๏ ๏  My Review ๏ ๏ ๏ 

 

The Nowhere girls started off feeling very YA with emphasis on the Y.  It also had its instances that felt very preachy with its WWJD (what would Jesus do) moments...and I don't do religion all that well.  But it quickly became more than that, it takes the very serious subject matter of rape and gives you an uplifting tale of what you can do to make a difference...to make a stand...when you set your mind and heart on doing so.  It takes the feeling of hopelessness that Asking For It gave me and turned it into something hopeful.  With an exceptionally diverse cast of characters, that totally rocked, this book crept up on me and made me love it.

 

 

๏ ๏ ๏  MY RATING ๏ ๏ ๏ 

 

4.5STARS - GRADE=A-

 


๏ Breakdown of Ratings ๏
 
Plot⇝ 4.5/5
Main Characters⇝ 4/5
Secondary Characters⇝ 4/5
The Feels⇝ 5/5
Pacing⇝ 4.5/5
Addictiveness⇝ 4/5
Theme or Tone⇝ 5/5
Flow (Writing Style)⇝ 4.3/5
Backdrop (World Building)⇝ 5/5
Originality⇝ 5/5
Ending⇝ 5/5 Cliffhanger⇝ Nope.
๏ ๏ ๏
Book Cover⇝ It's okay...
Narration⇝ ☆4☆ for Rebekkah Ross, she wasn't too bad, she did have slightly different voices for each of the three main characters, but I still think it would have been better with three narrators.
Setting⇝ Prescott, Oregon
Source⇝ Audiobook (Library)
๏ ๏ ๏
Goodreads
Amazon
Booklikes

 

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text 2018-10-31 06:28
The Link between Dishonesty and ADHD in Teens

 

Dishonesty and ADHD can be a common pair. Sometimes, teens with ADHD may be truly unsure of what the truth is and what’s not.  Lying can be connected to executive functioning issues. Lying can serve as a coping mechanism for kids with ADHD. For example, you ask your child if they cleaned their room and they lie and say “yes”. Simple tasks can be complex or overwhelming for children with ADHD. So, rather than asking for guidance, they will lie and say they completed the task. This can often feel like the easiest solution to their challenges.  The role of executive functioning issues is quite significant in these situations. Kids may struggle with the following:

 

  • Connecting the now to the future
  • Thinking of, or remembering, consequences
  • Organization and time management
  • Understanding how they got to the place of lying, to begin with
  • Understanding that it’s the lying that got them in trouble (not what they lied about)
  • Knowing how to fix the original problem behind the lie

 

It is important that you don’t dismiss your child as defiant and inherently dishonest, when that simply may not be the case. This type of lying isn’t about defiance. It’s about having trouble coping with challenges.

 

How to Help Decrease the Dishonesty

 

Your job as a parent is not to burden your child with blame. This can create a constant power struggle and let on many more problems. There are some measures you can enforce at home to help get your child on a track being open and honest.

 

Here are some constructive ways to help your child stop lying.

 

  • Anticipate where he might struggle and give help. If your child struggles with orderly tasks like setting the table, break it down. Give them a list of clear steps. Look for patterns in when they lie to figure out where there may be trouble spots.
  • Don’t take lying personally. Try to remember that the dishonesty isn’t out of defiance or disrespect. Focus on what led to the lie rather than the lie itself.
  • Avoid situations where lying is an option. If you asked your child to clean their room before watching tv, don’t ask if they did it. Go check. And if they didn’t, turn off the tv until the task is complete.
  • Tie everything together. Help your child make connections. Talk about what happened and help them recognize what went wrong. Help them brainstorm ways to handle things differently next time.

 

Discover Seven Stars can help

 

Discover Seven Stars is a multidisciplinary residential treatment center and assessment program for adolescents ages 13-17 who struggle with neurodevelopmental disorders.  By combining acute care stabilization with residential treatment, classroom academics, outdoor adventure therapy, skill building and positive psychology, our therapeutic program assesses, understands and builds the confidence and skills of students struggling with neurodevelopmental disorders.

 

Autism Program for Teens | Summer Camps For Teens with Autism

Source: discoversevenstars.com/blog/the-link-between-dishonesty-and-adhd-in-teens
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review 2018-10-31 01:17
ARC Review: The Academy by Quinn Anderson
The Academy - Quinn Anderson

This was a not so stereotypical college romance, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. It had some issues, on which I'll elaborate further down.

Nick arrives at The Academy for his senior year after having taken a year off due to the death of his father. Starting over a tiny Catholic college wasn't the plan, but here we are. Nick plans to focus on his studies, maybe making some friends, and then getting his diploma and go home. Still struggling with grief, and on a tight budget, Nick knows that he's dependent on the scholarship he got, and has no plans whatsoever for a college romance or any such nonsense. 

Sebastian is the college campus player. When he spots Nick, he makes a bet with his two oldest friends, Dante and Theo, on who can kiss the new guy first - with the provision that the new guy has to initiate the kiss. Sebastian is the proverbial spoiled rich kid. Or so it seems. 

Nick doesn't want to give Sebastian the time of day at first, but slowly the ice melts a bit. 

With the premise as it is, Nick and Sebastian don't spend a whole lot of time together on page to begin with, though that time becomes more and more as the plot progresses. As Sebastian develops real feelings for Nick, he's terrified of the bet coming out. The author attempted to show us that despite all the material things he has, Sebastian is still yearning for something money can't buy, something that he lost and cannot get back; his insecurities are hindering him, and causing him to covertly lash out and hurt others before they can hurt him.

There are some clever plot twists here as well, which I didn't see coming, so I was pleasantly surprised toward the end. 

What didn't work so much for me is that Sebastian and his friends often sounded and acted a lot younger than their actual presumed ages - they read a lot more like moody highschoolers (especially Sebastian seemed very much a jerk) than college juniors. The poor little rich boy trope is a little overused here also, and while Sebastian's background makes for a good explanation of his behavior, I didn't buy the rapidity with which he falls for Nick, especially considering the fact that Nick and Sebastian have no more than maybe 10 or 15 actual conversations with each other over the course of the book. I wasn't sold on there being an actual romantic relationship between them - it felt more like lust than love.

Dante and Theo, Sebastian's friends - those two had their own issue to work out, and they did, and while they're supposed to be side characters, they actually felt more real to me than the MCs, probably because we see them spent more time together on page than Sebastian and Nick.

The author does a fine job writing the steam, and while there are but two steamy scenes in this book, they were pretty damn hot, but also continued to lead me down the path of believing in their lust, not their love.

Probably not my favorite by this author, but a good effort, and an enjoyable read. 


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. **

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